An open letter to the father of Deepika Padukone

Dear Prakash Padukone Sir,

I write to you as a concerned co-Malleswarite.

My only qualification to address you publicly is that I have had the pleasure of being in CTR on Saturday mornings long years ago when an All-England champion brought his doe-eyed daughters to delve into its benne masala dosas in the privacy of its booths.

I write to you on a day when the Indian XI lost to an Australian XIV—don’t forget to count the two on-field umpires and the TV umpire—despite the admirable heroics of our co-townsman from Jayanagar.

And I write to you on a day when Deepika was seen in the balcony of the Sydney Cricket Ground, a day after her 22nd birthday.

Looking at the hurry with which one of our star batsmen got in and got out, without tickling the scorers, I got the very firm feeling that he was desperately trying to prove the old story about Sharmila Tagore calling the Cricket Club of India and being told that Tiger Pataudi was out batting, “but don’t hang up, madam, he will be back soon,” if you get what I mean.

Of course, Deepika is an adult. It’s her life. She is free to go where she likes, be seen where she wants, and to make her personal and professional choices. But, Prakash Sir, don’t you think it is happening all too fast, all too openly for the daughter of “India’s greatest living sportsman” (as Sunil Gavaskar correctly called you on air today)?

Too much hype over the film, too many rumours, too many distractions.

One-day captain one day, one-day vice-captain the next. So much so the two gentlemen have apparently forgotten where the real match is.

Of course, it’s all very well if it’s just a publicity stunt, but I’m sure you know better.

Maybe, it is none of my/our business, maybe the gossip is the work of idle journalistic minds. But as a champion who has tasted success, fame and stardom, and as a gentleman who has handled his success, fame and success with grace, dignity and balance, do you think Deepika has got it right?

Shouldn’t she concentrate on her career, her IGNOU course, and leave matrimony and the Indian team alone. I mean, we still have two Test matches to go, and 2-0 could well become 4-0 at this rate.

Yours sincerely

RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY

postscript: I too was brought up on the same benne masala dosas, but they didn’t quite have the same result.